There is not much of an argument against patient engagement and its ability to improve the lives of patients. Individuals who are actively involved in their personal care live fuller and healthier lives in which they communicate with their providers, care about their health information, and show up for annual appointments. As much as the medical community appreciates patients who take the initiative to be involved all on their own, most patients need a helping hand when it comes to engaging with their providers and understanding and navigating their personal health. The good news is that the tools to get your patients involved already exist and are capable of improving patient satisfaction and health outcomes for providers all across the country. One of the most important tools for increasing patient engagement and breaking the barrier to getting your patients involved in the patient portal. Here are some of the different ways that the patient portal can help your efforts to improve the lives of your patients:
1) Secure Messaging
One of the features that is talked about the most and as made an incredible impact on how patients can engage with their providers is the ability to securely message their physician. Formatted similarly to an email or instant message, patients can quickly reach out to their physician with any questions or concerns they have through the patient portal. In the past, the patient’s questions might have to wait until the next time they were in for a visit, which could have been months on end, or the until the next time the office was open, to make a phone call. The patient portal has made the idea of asking a physician a question almost mindless and unquestionable, why would you not do it when it only takes a few seconds? This feature of the patient portal is responsible for increasing patient engagement leaps and bounds.
2) Test Results
Through the patient portal, patients have new eyes. For the first time, when they log on, they see in front of them a list of results and explanations from their physicians from test results. Maybe they did not log on to view these test results. They might have logged on to their patient portal for another reason like to schedule an appointment or to request a prescriptions refill, but their test results were right in front of them. The patient portal helps to create transparency so that patients can no longer avoid or remain unaware of the facts that are their personal health.
3) Vital Monitoring
In the same way that patients now see their test results, the patient portal allows patients to monitor their vitals as they are tracked and analyzed. As their provider reports on what they are seeing, the patient can see, in real-time, and ask questions. A quality patient portal helps the patient grow in their understanding of their personal health so that they are better able to communicate with their physician about their concerns and work collaboratively on a plan for the next steps. The more informed a patient is regarding their personal health, the more likely they are to address underlying issues, tackle ongoing problems, and improve overall outcomes.
4) Medication Compliance
Physicians are familiar with the struggle to get their patients to stay on top of their medications. Not only does staying compliant with one’s medication help current and ongoing health concerns, but it ensures that problems don’t arise with patients who are accidentally under medicating or over medicating. The patient portal provides a comprehensive list of medications that the patient can review by themselves or with their provider at any time to make sure they are only taking the things they should be. Patients can also visit this list to request refills on their patient portal without having to call the office to make sure they never run out of the medications they need to stay healthy.
The patient portal offers patients a simple tool that helps them get involved with their providers through features like secure messaging and vital monitoring while staying informed on their test results and compliant with their medication. With this tool, providers will see an increase in patient engagement that will empower their patients to take charge of their personal health and pay attention to the future of their medical care.